Back to All News

Greens seek to scrap 'no go zones' from Foreign Fighters Bill

Media Release
Penny Wright 3 Oct 2014

The Abbott Government's unnecessary 'no go zone' laws undermine the presumption of innocence and criminalise legitimate travel, says Australian Greens Legal Affairs spokesperson Senator Penny Wright.

Senator Wright said the Greens would move amendments to strike out clauses that make it a criminal offence to travel to an area black-listed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

"We do not support these blanket bans and we will be trying to get rid of them when the legislation comes to parliament," Senator Wright said.

"It is already a criminal offence for Australians to travel overseas with the intent of engaging in hostile activities - these draconian laws are unnecessary and will have the same effect as a reversal of the onus of proof.

 "The no go zones are an extraordinary offence with very narrow exemptions. It will criminalise perfectly legitimate travel, meaning innocent Australians could be jailed for 10 years for entering a declared zone.

"Journalists, aid workers and people visiting their families will have the very difficult task of demonstrating to a court they travelled overseas for one reason and one reason only."

Senator Wright said if the parliamentary votes could not be found to scrap the provisions, the Greens would seek to amend the laws to require proof of intent to carry out an illegitimate purpose.

"The Australian Greens know the importance of protecting our country against terror threats, but we do not want to see innocent people in jail.

"We are optimistic we will be able to find support in the Parliament for these very sensible amendments."

 

Back to All News